By September 6, 2008

Samsung i300 review


I’ll be honest. The i300 passed me by on release, and when Matt asked me to check out a WM2003 device, I wasn’t exactly excited by the prospect. However, the i300 does have a few unique selling points, and you could say was ahead of its time, meaning it could be worth a look even today.


The Samsung i300

What’s in the box?

As usual for Samsung, there’s a box full of goodies, two batteries and even a dock included.

  • Samsung i300
  • AC Charger
  • Docking cradle
  • Standard battery
  • Extended battery
  • Direct USB connection
  • Headset

Samsung i300 Specification:

  • Dimensions : 113 x 48 x 20 (mm)
  • Weight : 121 g
  • Talk time: up to 7 hours
  • Standby time: up to 200 hours
  • Display type: TFT, 256K colors at 240 x 320 pixels
  • Camera: 2 Megapixel, 1280×1024 pixels, video captue/playback, with flash
  • Bluetooth, v1.2
  • MP3/WMA/AAC/MPEG4 player
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 SE
  • Memory: 3 GB microdrive, 64 MB internal memory, expandable via TransFlash memory cards
  • Tri band: GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900


There isn’t much to see on the top of the Samsung i300, just the black iRDA ‘window’.


Samsung i300 top view

On the bottom you’ll find plastic cover over the proprietary Sync/Charge connector.


Samsung i300 bottom view

On the left hand side you can find another plastic cover over the proprietary headphone connector. Below there a buttons for voice recorder, keylock and volume control.


Samsung i300 left side

Looking to the right side there’s yet another cover, this time it covers the MicroSD/Transflash card slot. There’ also a dedicated camera button and two additional soft keys.


Samsung i300 right side

The Samsung i300 has a decent looking keypad with regular numeric pad and standard smartphone shortcut keys. In the middle is a rotating jog dial that works to scroll through the phone’s menus as stored media files.


Samsung i300 keypad

Unusually, the Samsung i300 package includes a neat docking station that allows you to charge the device and the spare battery at the same time.


The Samsung i300 in its dock



So why are we reviewing an older smartphone? A few reasons really. For a start eXpansys want you to buy one, but I was also interested in the retro looks of the device, and of course the 3gb “microdrive”.

3gb isn’t a great deal now with the iPhone, but then this isn’t anywhere near the cost of one. It’s was, until the Diamond, the only WM based device to have built in storage. It’s an interesting phone and is as quick as any of the devices being launched today.

The retro look comes from a mix of black and silver plastic, but feels very well built. The sides are filled with various shortcut hardware buttons, and although these make it look a bit business orientated, most are of some use.

Throughout it’s life, it has, perhaps oddly, been pushed as a consumer device (and in the marketing, you’d be forgiven for thinking the hard disk only accepts music files!). This seems a little strange to me, as its crying out to be used in enterprise. Its a true USB Stick/phone combo, and 3gb of storage, plus a decent well spec’ed phone for £70 seems good.

The i300 of course does beat the likes of Sony Walkman phones in terms of storage, but the teenage girl crowd are not going to want to carry around i300! Style wise then, it is in a niche market, but I do firmly believe it retains its use even now – especially with now stupidly low pricing – it even comes with a decent set of headphones and a headphone adapter for those wishing to use their own headphones.


i300 headphone adapter

As you might expect, music (and anything else) is easily synced to the device with a combination of Windows Media Player and ActiveSync, but unfortunately the built in speakers are pretty awful. As usual, and as most people do, using earphones improves the quality no end.

As well as the full scale hard disk, the i300 still supports external micro-sd cards, which can be hot swapped without removing the battery.

There’s is sadly no way of upgrading the device from its rather old WM2003 Second Edition despite the fact that later builds of the i300 did include WM5.

The usual array of software is available on the device immediately – and Samsung have also added “Picsel viewer” which opens most Office documents.

The built in camera at 1.3meg is acceptable, but does struggle to perform at the levels expected these days. The camera button is on the right hand side of the phone, next to a button dedicated to the standard profile selection screen. This doubles up with a long press to activate flight mode. A third button applies the keylock.

On the right hand side, there is the volume rocker switch, the headphones port, and a voice control/voice recorder button.

The front of the phone is typical retro candybar looks. Screen at the top, buttons at the bottom, and the standard WM softkeys. The navigation ring is really useful though. First off its the usual 5-way direction pad, but the ring itself also spins, with a ridge to make it even easier to navigate through websites and other documents. It is also the method used to digitally zoom the camera.

I really do want to love this phone, and considering its age, its still amazingly useful and easy to use. It is big, and perhaps a bit too heavy. It just about gets away with it, because you do get something for the hassle – the hard disk. I do hope it can withstand a few heavy falls though!

The battery life is acceptable, although you will lose access to the hard disk when the battery drops to a certain level. This will at least in theory give you a little bit of extra time to get home and recharge! The package does include an extra battery that you can carry for the emergency situations.


Samsung i300 battery packs


  • Nice retro look
  • 3gb memory
  • High quality screen
  • Decent battery life


  • A little too heavy
  • WM2003 and seemingly no WM5 upgrade available


For all its minor niggles, I can’t help liking the i300, despite its age, and the older OS. The 3gb storage is a really nice addon, and its what separates this from other devices of its time – and makes it a worthwhile purchase for some even now.


Review by: Mark

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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